VICTORY: Virginia Becomes 21st State to Fully Protect LGBTQ People From Discrimination

April 11, 2020 • 4:15 pm

Virginia is first Southern state to pass LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections

RICHMOND – Today Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Values Act into law, making Virginia the 21st state – and the first Southern state – with comprehensive and explicit protections for LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public places.

Kasey Suffredini, CEO and national campaign director of Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement in response to the news:

“In a time when so many people are facing uncertainty about their livelihoods and futures, Virginia has demonstrated that it values treating all its residents with dignity and respect in all areas of life. This law will send a message that everyone in the Commonwealth deserves fairness and freedom, and will provide much-needed recourse for anyone who faces discrimination. Virginia now joins more than 20 other states and an overwhelming supermajority of Americans calling on Congress to finish the job: America needs the Equality Act now to update our federal law and ensure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.”

In February, the Virginia Values Act passed its third and final readings in both the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support. The victory came after a years-long effort in which bipartisan lawmakers in the Senate passed LGBTQ protections from discrimination in housing for six years and in employment for four years in a row, but the bills had stalled in the House.

Freedom for All Americans was a founding member of “Virginia Values,” a coalition of Virginians and allies from all walks of life who support nondiscrimination protections and which worked to pass the legislation. FFAA provided significant support to the coalition in communications, digital strategy, bill drafting and analysis, grassroots lobbying and organizing, and financial investments.

Majorities of Americans in every state, including 68% in Virginia, support LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing and public spaces. Today’s win comes at a pivotal time as the Supreme Court prepares to issue a ruling on three LGBTQ discrimination cases that could strip federal nondiscrimination protections from LGBTQ people – making the passage of statewide protections all the more crucial.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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